The intensely perfumed, sumptuous and seductive Brokenwood Graveyard articulates the very best of Hunter Shiraz. It is arguably the Hunter Valley's greatest red wine of the contemporary era. The east-facing Graveyard vineyard, first planted out in 1968, was once earmarked in 1882 as the Pokolbin cemetery but this did not eventuate.
First made in 1983, Graveyard Shiraz is a meticulous classification selection of the best parcels, mostly from the oldest plantings. After vinification in open-top stainless steel vats, it finishes fermentation in barrel. Maturation takes place in a combination of French and American oak barriques for a period of around 14 months. Young elemental Graveyard typically shows ginger bread, blackberry aniseed fruit, plenty of savoury oak and floral/herb garden notes. The opulent gamey/French polish characters develop with time bringing a rich palimpsest of aromas and flavours.
"Very deep, bright, bold purple colour, with a youthful smoky-charcuterie, slightly reductive bouquet. The wine is leaner than the '14 and just as firm, loaded with tannins. It's dense, chewy, thickly-textured and long. A massive wine and ultra-impressive. Gorgeous, despite the sulphides, and long-term."
98 points, The Real Review (December 2018)
"Hunter Valley Shiraz is a breed apart. Forget the thunder of South Australia's warmest sites, or the perfume and finesse of Australia's many distinguished cooler climate Shirazes. This is not black and heavy as mercury in the glass; it's merely dark. Smell it and you'll find it softly savoury, like finest unlit Havana leaf; it's balanced, round-shouldered, understated, even shy on the palate, with supremely gentle tannins and discreet, underplayed acidity, but that savoury warmth grows and grows as it sits on the palate, and few Australian Shirazes can perform as well as this can throughout the length of a meal. This supremely gastronomic Hunter Valley classic deserves a much wider audience. Drink 2019-2026"
97 points, Platinum and Best in Show Trophy - Decanter World Wine Awards 2019
"A decade later, off the back of a couple of drizzly years, 2017 was somewhat of a scorcher - which typically makes for an excellent Shiraz harvest in the Hunter. Yet to be released, the ’17 Graveyard Shiraz is vibrant and alive with hot pink and ruby hues that’s nigh on neon! Bright, ripe red fruit notes are accompanied by musk and spice, with big, moisture-sucking, clasping tannins. It will retain incredible line and length for decades to come."
96 points, Daniel Honan - Decanter (December 2018)
Tasted at the winery - Published in 'Brokenwood: Quintessential Hunter Valley'
"An exceptional and warm vintage has delivered a mighty Graveyard with a super complex nose that offers rich dark plums and berries with a wealth of rich, meaty black olives and assertive tannins. The red-plum flavors thread long through polished, clear-cut tannins. First release since 2014."
97 points, jamessuckling.com (June 2019)
One of Australia's icon wines, the vines 49yo. The decision not to use any new French oak, and to limit the alcohol to 13.5% has resulted in a wine with a unique sense of place. It is also superbly balanced, dark fruits married to superfine tannins, another feature of a classic medium-bodied Hunter shiraz. I'm sure that Maurice O'Shea would approve of these wines.
99 points, Wine Companion (February 2019). Top 100 Wines of 2019.